Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Roslyn Gleadow


This unit prepares students for scientific research by providing practical and theoretical training in planning, undertaking and documenting scientific research projects. Students will examine the core elements of modern science by looking back at the people, cultures, events and discoveries that allowed science to emerge and contribute to the establishment of key concepts such as empiricism, scepticism and rationalism. This unit will equip students with skills to assess the validity of scientific information, to distinguish between real science, bad science and pseudoscience. The value of science in solving real world issues and improving the human condition are discussed using current examples. Students are exposed to recent advances in current and emerging research areas through journal presentations. Students will complete assignments that will help improve their written and verbal communication to a range of audiences including scientists, politicians, granting agencies, the general public and scientifically literate generalists, and identifies pathways to becoming a scientific researcher. Students are encouraged to submit their scientific literature reviews for publication in Reinvention, a Journal for Undergraduate Research.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Outline how scientific research is conducted, funded and communicated;
  2. Outline the central components of scientific thinking and their historical origins;
  3. Distinguish science from pseudoscience and bad science;
  4. Acquire, critically analyse and communicate complex scientific ideas and information;
  5. Present scientific information in a variety of formats, including formal and informal writing, spoken and visual media;
  6. Discuss the purposes of, and methods behind, effective science communication and identify how approaches can be adapted for different audiences;
  7. Conceptualise a research question on an open scientific topic;
  8. Carry out a research project to address a research question by accessing and analysing information sourced from primary scientific literature;
  9. List the ways in which science is regulated and assess their effectiveness in promoting ethical professional practice;
  10. Identify the pathways to becoming a scientific researcher and list the generic and technical skills that will help them gain employment.


Examination (two hours): 30%
Workshop participation and activities: 20%
Project: 50%
The project consists of several parts including a scientific literature review (30%), a conference poster presentation (10%) and other written assignments (10%).
Workshop tasks and activities include peer review, group work, quizzes and participation in on-line and face-to-face discussions.

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

Two 1-hour lectures plus one 2-hour tutorial /workshop per week


Enrolment in Bachelor of Science Advanced (Research) or Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program). Students in other courses with two semesters of first year university study (48 credit points), with a minimum of a Distinction average (70%) across 24 credit points of science units, are also eligible to apply.


SCI2010, SCI2020